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Fall is known as the harvest season for a reason. It’s the perfect time of year to take advantage of the cornucopia of fresh produce that is available.

Apples, kale, winter squashes and sweet potatoes are all at their best and ready to provide crisp fall flavors for a healthy harvest dinner. It’s also the time to shine for butternut squash, best from early fall through winter.

“Butternut squash is naturally low in sodium and fat and a rich source of potassium—which helps lower blood pressure—vitamin A and vitamin C,” said Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., professor of nutrition and professor of medicine at the University of Vermont.

The healthy butternut squash recipe that follows can provide a hearty meal—it’s a perfect dish for those chilly autumn nights.

Butternut Squash Pasta

Serves 4; 1 cup pasta and 3/4 cup squash mixture

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes

The flavor of sage marries perfectly with any type of winter squash. In this hearty dish, the green sugar snap peas provide a striking visual contrast to the bright orange butternut squash.

  • 8 ounces dried whole-grain spaghetti
  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash (1/4-inch cubes)
  • 1 cup fat-free, low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups trimmed, halved sugar snap peas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

 

pasta 1.  Prepare the pasta using the package directions, omitting the salt. Drain well in a colander. Set aside.
squash 2 2.  In a large skillet, stir together the squash, broth, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
peas 3.  Stir in the peas. Return to a simmer and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
cheese 4.  Stir in the sage. Serve the squash mixture over the pasta. Sprinkle with the Parmesan

Shop & Store: When choosing a butternut squash for this recipe, look for one that has a longer neck. The neck is easier to peel and chop since it doesn’t have any seeds.

Tips, Tricks & Timesavers: Some winter squash, such as butternut, are difficult to cut when raw. To make the job easy, pierce the squash several times with a fork and place the squash on a microwaveable plate. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 1 to 2 minutes. Let the squash stand for 5 minutes before cutting. Using a large, sturdy knife, cut off the stem end, then cut lengthwise from the stem end through the root end. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds and strings.

squash nutrition

This recipe is reprinted with permission from American Heart Association Go Fresh. Copyright © 2014 by the American Heart Association. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. Available from booksellers everywhere. Click here to buy from ShopHeart.org, here to buy from Amazon.com or here for BarnesandNoble.com.

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